Who We Are
EPS is a non-political organization that supports 31 communities, from Yale to Semiahmoo to Squamish, in improving emergency planning and preparedness at the local and regional levels. We advocate for increased capacity for Mainland Coast Salish communities, the full realization of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA), and the full representation of community values in all regional emergency planning, management, response and decision-making activities.
Our mandate includes advocating for emergency and infrastructure work that includes full consultation and engagement with First Nation communities impacted. We hope to improve capacity within Mainland Coast Salish communities to allow for their full involvement in emergency management and decision-making activities with every level of government, including local, provincial and federal.
We are happy to act as a connection point and support organization for Mainland Coast Salish communities to enhance and develop relationships with all levels of government, public and private sector industries, and other agencies. We assist communities, governments and other agencies convene meetings to identify priorities and concerns, assist with project engagement for emergency-related projects, coordinate discussions and collaborative efforts between communities, governments and other agencies. We also assist in communications and manage information related to contracts, projects and initiatives throughout the region.
Through the Disaster Resilience Regional Action Plan, Hílekw Sq'eq’o, EPS seeks to create a Mainland Coast Salish emergency plan for all hazards and climate change based on the Sendai Framework and rooted in UNDRIP that encompasses the values and priorities of Mainland Coast Salish communities.
Our work is based in the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction using the Sendai Priorities:
1. Understand disaster risk;
2. Strengthen disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk;
3. Invest in disaster reduction for resilience; and
4. Enhance disaster preparedness for effective response and to "Build Back Better" in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Our vision is to have all of the 31 Mainland Coast Salish First Nations, from Yale to Squamish to Semiahmoo, resilient to existing and future disasters, meaning though disasters may continue to occur, communities experience little impacts from them. This is done with in-depth risk assessments, leading to resilient community planning and regional investment, coupled with effective and self-sustaining emergency planning and response programs. All of these practices must be connected from house-hold to region, where households are aware of their risks and plans, communities can support each other in planning, preparedness and response and can come together as a region for larger disasters. Communities will also be participating at all levels of regional emergency planning and response, from provincial land use planning to participating in the regional emergency response.
We're finalizing a Disaster Resilience Regional Action Plan with the 31 Mainland Coast Salish Communities which is meant to serve as a foundational document that identifies practices and processes to facilitate the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015–2030 with climate change preparation. It is named Hílekw Sq'eq’o, which means “get ready together” in Hal'qeméylem, one of the dialects of the Mainland Coast Salish First Nations.
Hílekw Sq’eq’ó is intended to serve as a guide for communities, marking a first step towards a deliberate regional approach to supporting communities in their efforts to build capacity and resilience, reduce disaster risk and impacts of each community. It may be used as a master plan, but it does not prevent any community from pursuing strategies or courses of action not necessarily identified within Hílekw Sq’eq’ó.
It is anticipated that leadership and direction will come from within the communities to ensure each of the 31 First Nations can apply Hílekw Sq’eq’ó when addressing their unique perspectives and priorities. This plan is intended to be reviewed and revised continually, and formally every five years to ensure it continues to reflect the needs, risks, and priorities of communities in a culturally relevant and sustainable way.
Hílekw Sq’eq’ó will become the framework of the EPS as it supports communities in building out local and regional plans. EPS does not and will not speak or act on behalf of any of the 31 Mainland Coast Salish First Nations that it works with. Instead, Hílekw Sq’eq’ó and the EPS will seek to uphold the principles of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA), and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIPA) to uphold the inherent rights that Mainland Coast Salish peoples have to self-determination, autonomy and self-government. These Acts are conducive to facilitating the development and implementation of Hílekw Sq’eq’ó in a way that is representative of the interests and priorities of Mainland Coast Salish communities and their relation with other governments.
Hílekw Sq’eq’ó helps further the implementation of the Sendai Framework in Mainland Coast Salish lands through the identification of regional initiatives that align with one or more of the Priorities for Action established in the Sendai Framework, as well as other foundational documents, such as the Abbot Chapman Report, The Fire Awakened Us, and the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada: Toward a Resilient 2030. It identifies activities and practices that may be implemented by Mainland Coast Salish First Nations to collectively build upon the Priorities for Action particularly those aimed at creating a whole-of-society approach and ensuring cohesion among key groups and stakeholders.
Key concepts of Hílekw Sq’eq’ó are risk and resilience. Risk is commonly understood as likelihood of experiencing consequences from a hazard to areas or people, combined with the vulnerability of those areas or people (how severe the hazard might affect them). Risks therefore can be any combination of the above that, and risk reduction can, and should be done through several streams. Resilience is defined as the ability to experience a disaster with little consequences, which requires reducing risk at its core, in a sustainable way that is in line with Mainland Coast Salish priorities.
Record of Decisions & Actions
Approved RODAC 04 06 2022
Approved RODAC 09 20 2021
Approved RODAC 08 30 2021
Approved RODAC 08 13 2021
Approved RODAC 07 02 2021
Approved RODAC 06 18 2021
Approved RODAC 05 07 2021
Approved RODAC 03 23 2021
Approved RODAC 02 18 2021
Approved RODAC 01 21 2021
Approved RODAC 11 24 2020
Approved RODAC 08 21 2020
Approved RODAC 07 14 2020
Approved RODAC 06 19 2020
Approved RODAC 05 15 2020
Approved RODAC 04 20 2020
Approved RODAC 03 20 2020
Approved RODAC 12 13 2020
Approved RODAC 11 07 2019
Approved RODAC 10 08 2019
Approved RODAC 09 09 2019
Approved RODAC 07 16 2019
Approved RODAC 06 09 2019
Approved RODAC 05 17 2019
Strategic Planning - What We Heard Report
On October 22, 2020 the EPS hosted a Strategic Planning Session with Mainland Coast Salish community Leadership and Staff to understand how best to serve community's interest in flood and all hazards emergency management work based on the 4 pillars of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The results of the session were compiled in the EPS What We Heard Report.
EPS has been developing a Disaster Resiliency Regional Action Plan (DRRAP) that continues to be co-developed with communities. This plan includes the development of a training and exercising program to develop capacity and enhance coordination between communities.